William 'Bill' Downing


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Posted Online: Feb. 05, 2013, 6:19 pm
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William R. "Bill" Downing, formerly of Rock Island, died on Feb. 2, 2013.
Bill was born on Aug. 26, 1925, in Rock Island, one of six sons of Harry and Mary Downing. He graduated from Rock Island High School in 1942.
He began working at the family business, Downing Brothers Dairy (later known as Downing's All-Star Dairy), in 1938, at the age of 13, and after serving in the United States Navy during World War II, he returned in 1946 to work at the dairy. That year, he met the love of his life, Rita L. Shaughnessy. They were married in Chicago on Oct. 19, 1946, and this past October celebrated their 66th anniversary.
They had two sons, Michael W. Downing (Pamela L.), White Bear Lake, Minn., and Dennis J. Downing (Dianna), Monterey, Mass; and four grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren.
After a 40-year career as plant manager at Downing All-Star Dairy, he worked for another 10 years at the Rock Island Arsenal as procurement officer. He retired from the U.S. Army in January 1988 and he and Rita moved to Pine Island Cove on Pine Island, Fla. in 1990. He greatly enjoyed his friendships at Pine Island Cove and especially enjoyed playing baseball, bocce and bowling with the guys. He was a Cubs fan and a member of the Pine Island Elks, Pine Island Moose and Pine Island American Legion.
A great man, a great father and a great role model, he will be greatly missed by his family and many friends.












 




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  Today is Monday, Sept. 1, the 244th day of 2014. There are 121 days left in the year.

1864 -- 150 years ago: We are informed by J.H. Hull that the reason the street sprinkler was not at work yesterday settling the dust on the streets, was because one of his horses was injured.
1889 -- 125 years ago: Bonnie McGregor, a fleet-footed stallion owned by S.W. Wheelock of this community, covered himself with glory at Lexington, Ky, when he ran a mile in 2:13 1/2. The horse's value was estimated as at least $50,000.
1914 -- 100 years ago: Troops are pouring into Paris to prepare for defense of the city. The German army is reported to be only 60 miles from the capital of France.
1939 -- 75 years ago: The German army has invaded Poland in undeclared warfare. Poland has appealed to Great Britain and France for aid.
1964 -- 50 years ago: Publication of a plant newspaper, the Farmall Works News, has been launched at the Rock Island IHC factory and replaces a managerial newsletter.
1989 -- 25 years ago: Officials predict Monday's Rock Island Labor Parade will be the biggest and best ever. Last minute work continues on floats and costumes for the parade, which steps off a 9:30 a.m.




(More History)